The 2007 Car Complaint Index Is Out

May 02, 2007
By: Robert Silverman

Each year, prospective car buyers call us with one constant inquiry: “Which cars receive the most complaints?” Thank goodness for Consumer Advocate Jack Gillis, author of the Ultimate Car Book. Each year, Mr. Gillis puts together a projected car complaint index, comparing the number of complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the number of cars sold. This year’s index is a little surprising….

Tops on the list this year is the Volkswagen Passat, followed by
Pontiac Solstice
Volkswagen Jetta
Mercedes Benz M Class
Nissan Quest
Dodge Charger
Mazda 5
Hyundai Tiburon
Mazda MX5 Miata
and the Subaru B9 Tribeca

You can view the complete list by clicking here.

And if you are looking for a great read on auto-related issues, you can purchase Jack’s book by clicking here.

Now, just because your car may be on this list does NOT mean it is a lemon. These are the cars that are receiving the highest number of complaints per sales, however it is important to note that these complaints are subjective and may not always hold merit. Case in point: a constant on the list is the Toyota Prius, the granddaddy of all hybrids. Why is the Prius always on the list? Because consumers are uncomfortable with the sudden surge once the car comes out of a stop. What they fail to realize however is that this is a characteristic of a hybrid vehicle, and not a defect. The bottom line is this list should serve as one research tool when buying a car and not the end-all, be-all.

That being said, there are still many legitimate complaints we are seeing among these cars (visit the NHTSA consumer complaint database by clicking here.) Consumers are complaining the most about airbag lights coming on (and in the case of the VW Jetta, airbags unintentionally deploying), check engine lights coming on for no reason, and engine hesitation and stalling. These are also among the top automobile defects we see coming through our office every day. it is amazing that with such amazing, innovative technology coming out of the automotive industry, we are still seeing the same defects again and again.

If you are experiencing these problems, it is important that you visit your service manager, and keep all repair invoices. Make sure the invoices outline the problems you complain about and what the service manager has done to fix the problem. Also, if the problem reoccurs, you should keep a log, and if necessary contact a lemon law firm, be it us or someone else. Make sure you are not being charged any cost, retainer or contingency. And, as we have said before–DO NOT DO THIS ON YOUR OWN! You have access to legal help. If you need it, take advantage of it.

Do manufacturers pay attention to this list? You bet your axle they do. The first year we issued this list in 2001, the Mazda MPV was tops on the index. Immediately after we published the index, we received a letter from Mazda outlining the ways they had addressed the problems consumers complained about. As a result, Mr. Gillis took them off the list. Furthermore, while Ford was a constant presence for years on the list, this year’s index does not contain one Ford vehicle. We are happy to see they are listening to their consumers.

Thanks again to Mr. Gillis, Ms. Curran, and their staff for allowing us to share this information with consumers.

If you live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, or Ohio, feel free to call us at 1-800-LEMON LAW (1-800-536-6652), and we’ll be happy to answer your questions, address your concerns, and – if applicable – file a claim on your behalf. If we are able to help, there is no cost to you at any time!

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7 Responses to “The 2007 Car Complaint Index Is Out”

  1. #1 Anonymous says:

    Complaints is not a new issue. Every year, customers have this complaints raised. I heard that Volkswagen Passat has some faulty parts like its VW axle. On the good side of it, Automakers can improve the quality of their products by making an action to address these complaints. But then it was surprising that two of the Volkswagen’s famous cars were in there.

    • #2 Rachel Valeich says:

      I am leasing a 2007 Passat with in the first two months I had total computer failure in the vehicle where all lights on dash went on including engine, brakes etc. They put in a new computer which took over a week. Within that week they did not have a rental for me, and I had to spend an additional 425+ for a rental. Since this incident I have had problems with lights going on in dash that won’t turn off. Of most concern are the grinding brakes that vw says are fine. However, when I drive this vehicle and prepare to stop my breaks will not only grind, but slip, especially on a downward slope, but not necessarily. I want to return this lease but they say I can not. I am paying $420 for this lease per month for 15,000 miles year (which they snuck in last minute, was supposed to be 17,000) and I believe I was totally ripped off. I am hugely dissatisfied with this product, this purchase and feel very stuck in a horrible car and shaddy deal.

      • #3 Sandra Ceja says:

        I am glad to hear I am not alone. I also purchased a new 2007 Passat 3.6 L V6 Sport package 05/05/07. Within the first 24 hours of purchase my vehicle stalled on the street, EMC light came on & other lights on the dash board. While the veh was in the shop, VW service dept could not figure out what happened and stated they found out of other Passats built in Detroit having similar issues. So they had an engineer fly out from Detroit to OH to come out to look at the car and figure out what the issue was. They replaced the throttle body connector & all electrical wiring, which took over a week to fix. However I did get a rental paid from VW during this time.

        I still own the car, about 1 yr and 3 months and about 18k miles and still have ongoing issues. It’s been in the shop for warranty issues total 3-4 times. The car is actually in the shop now due to the emissions light came on last Saturday, rough driving and when I place the car in reverse the manual park brake comes on by its own and starts beeping (that’s been going on since I had my last oil change 7/08). VW also told me about a new campaign/recall again yesterday and not sure how long it will be in the shop this time around.

        I will definitely be pursuing a lemon claim once the vehicle is out of the shop. You may want to look into this for your situation. You can refer to your states lemon law for additional help.

        I really thought for the price of this car, I would not have so many ongoing issues. But have had the worst experience ever with this car from day 1. I am very unhappy and do not plan on purchasing another VW anytime soon. I will keep you posted with what happens and sorry to hear the experience you are having. Good luck to you!

        • #4 tim shaw says:

          I have a 2007 passat wolfsburd edition and it stalls out just driving down the street 5 times in the last 6 months . I bought it brand new. Love the car until this starting happening . Now they tell me the lemon law only works with in one year of purchaing of the car . I now have 31 thousand miles on the car . what are my rights ? Is anyone else having this problem ? love to hear back from you


          • #5 LemonLaw says:

            Tim: The Manguson Moss Warranty Act comes into play when it comes your claim.

            • #6 Anonymous person says:

              I have a brand new 2007 Jetta (city) and since I drove off the lot, I have had constant problems. First, damage to coolant hose causing a leak. Second, an engine oil leak requiring service. Third, leak in antifreeze fluid. I have also had problems with the starter in the winter, ever since it was only four months old. Also, the engine overheats and I drive the car very little. Beware of VW. Terrible vehicles.

              • #7 Sheldon Nieves says:

                I brought a used car not even 30 days ago when I test drove the car the turn lights didn’t work on the driver side and the check engine light was on they verbally advised me they would fix them both they didn’t do so I returned to maryland and took the car to the dealership to see all was wrong with the car it’s in very bad shape over $4,000 to fix the car my warranty that comes with the car won’t cover it and the dealership will not talk to me only continue to lie to me and stole $500 from me which they said they wouldn’t take since I had to pay out of pocket $420 to get the car diagnose And if I didn’t pay the amount the dealership wouldn’t release my car the car finance won’t take the car back and give me my money back and my t tag expires In a week so I won’t be able to get back and forth to work this had been a total nightmare

                • State: Maryland

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